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Return of the Michelin Man


RC79NC001
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Return of the Michelin Man

 

In 2021 I enjoyed 3 consecutive sets of Michelin Pilot Road 2 Tires..

Set 1; Installed April 7 replaced after 6552 miles;

Set 2; Installed July 30 replaced after 6711 miles;

Set 3; Installed October 27 ...LIFE TBD...riding these into 2022.

 

Feel after 6000+ mi...

It seems that most tire reviews start with a glowing report immediately after installation. I say HORSEFEATHERS to that . Just about anything short of cardboard pizza boxes  is  going to feel better than those worn out, squared off buns you just removed. What readers really want to know is how do those tires feel in the last 1/8th of use ( ie 7/8 to 8/8 )? Did the rider feel confident enough to ridem’ hard to the very end or did You “tiptoe through the tulips” just to get by ?

I consider myself to be a “post aggressive” street rider which means  only wicking it up when conditions allow. Any aggro street riding always includes ( repeatedly ) uttering the phrase ‘This Is Not A Racetrack”.  I’m also at times content to ride stealthily and try to not draw attention to myself. The beauty of the VFR is that it can pretty much handle the whole gamut from banging through the gears @ redline to 4000 rpm short shifting.

I’ll focus on the last 2 weeks in the life of set 2.

  October in the Carolinas is usually a fine month for any outdoor activity. The temperature is moderating and aside from diminishing daylight hours you can encounter perfect weather. I had a 3 day weekend and endeavored to ride back to my hometown in northern AL. It’s a 480 mi ride and my favorite route is a mixture of Interstate, Unlimited Access 4 Lane and “Knotty” 2 lane highway . My well worn path home includes Hwy 64 from NC into TN and then Hwy 72 in  AL. The TN portion of 64 is especially choice as it follows the contours of the Ocoee river. If you are lucky and traffic is light, the 10 mile 2 lane stretch along the curviest part of 64 is a treat. Throw in some 18 wheel trucks and a slow moving RV or three and it’s not delightful at all. Well the planets aligned Friday. I pretty much had the aforementioned section to myself. It was sublime. The PR2s had around 5000 mi on them ..they steered and gripped perfectly. It had been almost 3 years since the VFR had traveled this route... time had been kind to it. Suspension upgrades, scrubbed in Michelin tires, a well paved twisty road  with light traffic make for great VFR  memories. It wasn’t a race but, my time from home to Alabama was a new personal best.

  Heading home Sunday morning early start. Ccccc..COLD...maybe 48 degrees at dawn. I figured after the sun got higher the Temperature would make it to 60 but, I think the max for the day was only 55. No glamour here..just hightailing it east on Hwy 72 at 5 to 10 over the posted speed limit. Interstate through  Chattanooga and then slicing east on Hwy 64. Brrrr. Heated grips are good. Trying to keep the speed down between Bryson City and Waynesville. NC State Troopers are lethal...about writing tickets.

VFR vs GS

  The easy way home would have been to take I40 into Asheville but, I wanted some variety.

NC Hwy 209 is a twisty ribbon of blacktop that would also get me to Asheville in a more circuitous and entertaining fashion.

Let’s Go !

 It had been years since I sampled 209 ,the last time aboard my SV650S . My VFR was on a maiden voyage here. I found it to be just as fun as before. Somewhere between Spring Creek and Hot Springs I looked in my mirrors and there was a BMW GS a few feet off my six. Game On ! Accelerate Hard in 3rd or 4th gear up to redline. Brake hard for the next switchback. Repeat repeat repeat.... Aside from the occasional cager crossing the line in oncoming traffic it was a hoot. When we rolled into Hot Springs NC the GS  rider peeled off to meet with friends. We had already exchanged helmet-off pleasantries and he complemented me on my smooth technique in the curves. I pretty much grinned all the way home after that.

Flat Rear Tire

I really like these PR2s. I was starting to think they were perfect, immortal even. I was wrong. I had the last week of October off. One tenative plan was to ride to Louisiana and back but, the forecast called for  colder and wetter conditions than I wanted.  Oh well, as consolation I’d take day trips on the sunny days.

    I was on a new road outside Asheboro NC. It was a narrow farm road, not new but new to me and it was checking all the right boxes. Elevation changes... check. Occasional direction changes right over a rise in the road...check. I was having fun at a relaxed pace when suddenly I thought I heard the chugging sound a tractor makes. The bike felt strange as I went through the next series of turns. Hmmm. I stopped, put the side stand down and had a quick tire inspection including a swift kick to the rear tire. I guess this was the denial phase. After accelerating away it was quite apparent my VFR did not want to change directions. Yes, the rear tire is probably flat. Less than half a mile from the quick stop I halted at an intersection put the bike on the center stand . You know how you look for a nail or sometimes it’s hard to see ? Not this flat. There was a large hole in the center of the tire. Whatever it was that made the hole was not in the immediate vicinity. That was no tractor chugging sound I thought I heard ! WTF did I run over ? At least the hole looks repairable.

  I’ll spare you all the gory details. I carry a traditional tire repair kit and a (nifty) electric pump. This usually helps to ward off the evil flat tire spirits ..I made repairs. Got the job done before dark. Checked the air pressure a few times on the way home and made an appointment with my trusted shop to install the next set of PR2s...which were sitting in my garage. Darn it, really wanted to break the 7000 mi mark on a set of these. Maybe the next set will be luckier...and you can ride them hard to the end. Forget the Pizza Boxes !

 

Summary

I would recommend Michelin Pilot Road 2 Tires highly. They are predictable, durable*, ride well and are cost effective. These tires once broken in have excellent feel. About 1000 miles in on the first set, I figured I had a winner and ordered two more sets  ! Alas my enhanced work/travel schedule this year limited my riding but, I will buy more in 2022. Actually I just ordered 2 sets today !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Not immortal.

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Nice write-up RC79. Agree with your eval of Michelins' consistency through the life of the the tire, and the miles. Wish my 2021 riding mileage had come closer to yours!

 

I was on Dunlop Roadsmarts on my 6th gen, but had some bad experiences, and switched to all Michelins 11 years ago when the original Bridgestones on my 7th gen went south at about 5K. I now always mount Road 5's (and 4's, 3's, etc. in the past) on the Ducati, and now Power 5's on the RC-51. I also get 6-7K miles, and I should add that the Road series are the best tires I have ridden in the wet.

 

 

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With that tread pattern, they're mostly air! I bet they work great in the rain. What didn't you like about the Roadsmarts/ I absolutely love mine. 

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1 hour ago, bmart said:

With that tread pattern, they're mostly air! I bet they work great in the rain. What didn't you like about the Roadsmarts/ I absolutely love mine. 

 

bmart, as I'm sure you can see with those two huge ugly exhaust cans in the photo, they are Michelin Power 5's on the RC, not my Road 5's on the Multistrada. Great track day rubber for a B- rider like me while still good on public roads. And hell, they might be great in the rain, I'll probably never know.

 

I had two Roadsmarts develop pretty severe cupping on the front, and it was relatively sudden both times while on a long trip, requiring a change in plans to replace the tires while days away from home. I admit I was pushing the tires hard for long periods both times, but I have not experienced similar problems from Michelins despite similar abuse. This was 10-12 years ago so I'm not commenting on current Dunlops.

 

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RC, I really enjoyed your story, for content and writing style!  Do you write professionally?  That stack of gummies brought back memories from working at m/c shops! 

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Enjoyed this post and read -thank you.   Was always a Bridgestone guy in past but when I got my 5thGen (from 3rd) it had PP on it and man o man what a difference and experience.   They did not last long and had a few miles on them when I bought the 5th...on 2nd set of PR2s and would never go to anything else.

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On 12/21/2021 at 9:16 AM, RC79NC001 said:

I would recommend Michelin Pilot Road 2 Tires highly.

 

Absolutely agree. I think that Michelin's Pilot Sport/Power/Road feel better than any of the other brands I've tried over the past 20 years/250K km. They may not have had the longest life, but I prefer them on my 5th Gen, 3rd gen, and 6th gen as well as a couple VTR1000F.

 

The others being Dunlop 204/207/208, Pirelli GTS(hated them)/Angel ST, Bridgestone 010/014/020.

 

 

On 12/21/2021 at 1:44 PM, St. Stephen said:

switched to all Michelins 11 years ago

Ha, my 1st set of Michelins were Pilot Sport back in the spring of 2000. Ooh, now I fell old...

 

 

For giggles, these pics show high & low points of tire life. The left is a very worn rear Pilot Power after 7100 miles, and the right is a much younger Pilot Power 2CT after a track day at Sears Point.

 

 

tires.jpg

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